Somebody’s Hurting Our People: Child Poverty, Women, And People With Disabilities

Callie Greer, a community organizer from Selma, Alabama, wails at the U.S. Capitol building recalling the loss of her daughter Venus, who died due to lack of Medicaid expansion in Alabama. (image via TruthDig)

Dear America,

This week, thousands of poor people, faith leaders and advocates gathered in Washington D.C. and over 30 states across the nation in a powerful wave of nonviolent civil disobedience. Their voices joined together, demanding that our government enact policies that uplift the poor in this country.

One of these voices was that of Callie Greer, a community organizer from Selma, Alabama. In 2013, Callie lost her daughter Venus to breast cancer because she could not afford health insurance. The republican governor of her state was one of many who refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m wailing,” she cried on Monday. “How many more babies? How many more children?”

How many? How many more have to die, go hungry or be left on the streets before we, as a nation, decide that enough is enough?

We heard from other poor, impacted women. Mashyla Buckmaster, a white Millennial from Washington state, shared about what it’s like to be blamed for your poverty by people who make money on the backs of the poor. Vanesa Noise from the Apache nation wept as she explained how drilling at Oak Flats hurts poor people as it hurts Mother Earth. Carolina Alas, a mother from California, lamented the death of her son, who was hit by a car while walking to work. “I just wish I could have bought him a car,” she said. Elaine Kolb, speaking from her wheelchair, asked us to remember the disabled who are thrown away in our society while corporations get tax cuts.

These impacted women were joined by the powerful moral voices of Linda Sarsour, Rev. Terri Hord-Owens, and Rabbi Sharon Brous — a Muslim, Christian, and Jew — who together spoke about the immoral policy violence that is hurting our people.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decided that he had had enough 50 years ago, and we — The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival — have chosen to take up his torch and renew his battle to make this country a better place for the poorest among us.

This week, our theme was Somebody’s Hurting Our People: Child poverty, Women, and People with Disabilities. One in two children are living in poverty in our nation, and this number is especially exacerbated for people of color, with 33.8 percent of indigenous children being poor. Why is it that we continue to empower the wealthy knowing that they are doing nothing to help uplift our women and children and those with disabilities? It is a crime for someone to sit on a throne of power and allow children to starve or live on the streets.

This week marked the beginning of our ongoing efforts of nonviolent moral fusion direct action. Every week, we are demanding that politicians and other political leaders take action against systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy.

We made progress in the media narrative with diverse coverage from across the country (from Indiana and Minnesota, to California and Florida) but we must continue to build the movement’s work, in order to fully break through and disrupt the narrative. The time is now. We need every person in this nation to join together and take action.

We are calling on all faith leaders and people of moral conscience to sign up and make a commitment to be a part of this movement. We need you this Monday, and every Monday to join us on the front lines in your state or Washington D.C. Click here to sign on now and commit to participating on the ground or share your support online using the #PoorPeoplesCampaign hashtag.

Forward together. Not one step back!